Central City student creates project from hobby, advances to state science fair
Science projects from local middle and high schools lined the halls of the Hastings College science building.
A middle school student from Central City conducted her own research on Algal growth in bird baths- a hobby which she turned into her project.
Judges surrounded Elaina McHargue's project as she spoke about the process of coming up with her idea.
"I am really interested in plants and birds and was alarmed when I saw algae growing in my bird baths. I wanted to see if there was anything that could stop that from happening," said seventh grade student at Central City Middle School Elaina McHargue.
Starting in August 2017, she worked on the project for six months until she obtained her results.
"It takes a long time to develop a question and to develop a procedure that really gets you the kind of data that you're looking for. Elaina started back at that point," said a Central City middle school science teacher Anna Detlefsen.
"I tested to see whether barley straw extract, apple cider vinegar or copper pennies inhibited algal growth. I found out that barley straw extract and copper pennies were both effective at inhibiting algal growth and apple cider vinegar was not," said McHargue.
Nine area schools attended the science fair with around 180 and 149 projects.
"This was the first year that we brought the middle school students to compete at the N.J.S meet," said Detlefsen.
"It has to be their own research so students typically spend several months working on these. Then they usually collect different types of data, analyze it and ultimately they present a small little speech about their topic to the different judges," said Hastings College science fair chairperson Neil Heckman.
"Scientific research is amazing for students. These skills that they learn from scientific research can transfer into everything they do," said a Central City high school biology teacher Chelle Gillan.
Some of the students like Elaina even hope to continue their research.
"I would like to test to see what kinds of algae grows in the different solutions," said McHargue.
"These are the bright future for our world. The students here today," said Gillan.
Elaina's project was chosen along with 11 other students to move on to the state science fair in Lincoln.